Guide to Skydiving Gear and Equipment

Thursday, April 14, 2022

skydiving gear

Every sport has its own particular accouterments – indispensable items that are practically synonymous with the activity, and that enable play or add an element of safety.

What would baseball be without a bat or woven, leather mitts? Soccer without shin guards or cleats? American football without protective pads or helmets with the classic metal facemask? And, to reference one of the most obvious pieces of skydiving equipment, what would skydiving be without parachutes? Of course, for each of these sports, our list just barely scratches the surface.

While it’s a bit easier to discern what is required for the more mainstream sports, our little niche activity of skydiving is still shrouded in a bit of mystery. If you’re interested in exploring this adventurous sport more, it will be important to learn all you can – including the skydiving gear that makes each and every jump possible. 

Getting your bearings in a brand new hobby can be a little overwhelming – we hope to make it a little easier! Here’s a beginner’s guide to skydiving gear and equipment. 

Skydiving Gear For Tandem Skydiving

At Skydive New England, all of the equipment that you need for your first tandem skydive will be provided to you. So, what does this include?

Goggles

The view from altitude is one you won’t want to miss! Each of our tandem students is provided with a pair of goggles to wear to protect their eyes in freefall. If you wear glasses, you will be provided with a pair of goggles that are made to fit over your eyewear.

Adjustable Harness

The tandem skydiving harness has four attachment points that securely connect the participant to the skydiving rig and the tandem skydiving instructor. We will provide you with this harness, and your instructor will adjust it so that it fits properly.

Dual Parachute Tandem Skydiving Rig

The backpack-looking item which holds the parachutes is referred to as a skydiving container or “rig”. Every container system used for skydiving is required to be a dual parachute system consisting of the main parachute and a reserve parachute. The main parachute is, as the name suggests, the primary parachute. The reserve parachute serves as a backup in the unlikely event there is an issue with the main parachute.

Automatic Activation Device (AAD)

Each skydiving rig used for tandem and student skydiving is also outfitted with a piece of pivotal skydiving equipment known as the Automatic Activation Device (AAD). This is a microprocessor computer located within the skydiving rig that deploys the reserve parachute in the event a skydiver is incapacitated.

Skydiving Equipment for AFF Skydiving

If you are interested in learning to skydive, you can do so through our Accelerated Free Fall training program. As with tandem skydiving, Skydive New England provides our AFF students with all the skydiving equipment they need.

Goggles

Although goggles will be provided for you, if you’re not fond of the idea of sharing with others, you can also purchase a pair of your own. The cost of goggles ranges from about $20 to $50.

Helmet

skydiving helmetDuring skydiving, it’s important to protect that beautiful brain of yours, and impact-rated skydiving helmets are used to help keep craniums safe. The tough outer shell of a skydiving helmet is composed of a combination of ABS and a polycarbonate blend, while the inside is lined with foam for a comfortable fit. As a student, the helmet you will wear is open-face. However, once you are licensed, you may purchase and use a helmet that has a face shield (known as a full-face helmet).

Jumpsuit

One of the most basic and underrated pieces of skydiving gear is the jumpsuit. On the surface (pun intended) the skydiving jumpsuit is designed to protect your skin from debris and to provide your instructor with grips to help stabilize you in freefall. However, as you progress, you will learn how important a skydiving jumpsuit can be to your flying progression. Jumpsuits are also often discipline-specific, with different types being used for different types of flying (i.e. sleek and slick for Freeflying or with booties and grippers for Relative Work).

Altimeter

The altimeter is a critical piece of equipment that uses barometric pressure to calculate altitude. The altimeter is necessary to ensure that you are deploying the parachute at the correct time/altitude. Although the altimeters that we provide to our students are analog, digital altimeters are commonly used once a student has graduated from the AFF training program.

Other Pieces of Skydiving Equipment

As you progress and gain experience as a skydiver, there are a few other pieces of skydiving equipment that you may use. Here are two additional pieces of skydiving gear that are often used by experienced skydivers.

Audible Altimeter

An audible altimeter is worn within the helmet and uses an audible tone to indicate pre-set altitudes. Audibles are used in addition to visual altimeters to ensure that a jumper remains altitude-aware in freefall and under canopy. This becomes particularly important as jumpers become involved in more advanced canopy piloting and in types of skydiving where there is significant horizontal movement (like wingsuiting).

Flysight

The Flysight is a GPS tracking device used by wingsuiters and canopy pilots. While on a skydive or under canopy the Flysight gives off an audible tone when there is a change in glide ratio, horizontal or vertical speed. The GPS data is logged from the jump, so after landing, an individual can review their skydive as plot points on a graph. This allows jumpers to see how changes in their body position affected their flight dynamics.

Ready to get geared up? Now that you’re more familiar with different pieces of skydiving equipment, let’s get you in the air to see how it all works firsthand! Come jump with us!

Win a FREE Skydiving Experience

By joining our email list, you enter to win a free tandem skydiving experience. In April and December, Skydive New England will draw a winner for a free tandem skydive (a $240 value) and announce it on our social media pages. As a bonus, you will receive a $10 coupon off a tandem skydive. Enter today, and find out if you're destined to fly! Must be 18 to jump. 240 lb weight limit.
Free Fall Videos

AFF Pricing

Learn what it costs to become a certified skydiver.

Click to View AFF Pricing

Videos Of Skydiving

AFF FAQS

Answers to frequently asked questions about the AFF program.

Click to Read AFF FAQS

Getting Here

Directions to Skydive New England

Plan Your Route

Events

The SNE calendar is filled with great events... which one are you coming to?

View the Calendar of Events

Skydiving Aircraft

DZ Information

Thinking of visiting? Here's everything you need to know before you visit SNE.

See an Overview of the DZ

New England Skydive

Tandem Skydiving

Tandem skydiving allows people to enjoy the thrill of free fall without having to go through hours of training.

Learn More

Skydiving New England

Video Services

One of our professional freefall videographers can jump right along with you and capture your jump on video!

Packages

Celebrating over 30 Years!

Skydive New England is known for it's fun and friendly atmosphere, and our passion for the sport. We employ state-of-the art training methods, and use only the latest technology in skydiving equipment.

Learn More

The Ripcord Café

Offering a variety of great food with daily specials and several famous BBQ's throughout the season.

See Menu

First Time Skydiving

Book Now

You're one click away from scheduling the greatest adventure life has to offer!

Schedule Your Skydive Now

Book Skydiving

Give the Gift of Adventure!

If you'd like to give skydiving as a gift, you can send it to the recipient via e-mail.

Gift the Adventure

I can say this without a doubt or reservation; this was indeed one of the best experiences of my life.

Gary G.